Leeds are doing a lot right but individuals need to take responsibility
09 Oct 2019 08:41am, by YorkshireSquare
Leeds United are doing a lot of the right things this season, first eight games you could have made a strong case for us deserving to win seven of them and we've not been outplayed by a side or deserved to lose any of the first eleven (and very rarely have been throughout Bielsa's time here). We were playing better last season but we should still be happy with the performances in general.
Defensively we have made big improvements, we concede very few chances and should trust in the process and the way we play. However doubt seems to creep into some players minds when things don't go our way and it links back to the end of last season. The trouble is the points we have dropped have more often than not down to ourselves rather than the opposition producing moments of quality against us that we can do little about.
Against Forest we missed a few half chances and Forest grab an equaliser with 15 minutes to go with their only attack of the game. On two counts it was poor we defended the goal terribly and then seemed to totally lose belief after that. We had outplayed them for 75 minutes and had 15 minutes to make the difference in quality count, the spaces were there to attack and we looked as bad as them for the last 15. We played well and controlled for 75 minutes of that game which is as much as you can ask for but we didn't deliver and lost belief in the 15 minutes that really mattered.
Against Swansea a similar scenario to Forest but the last 10 minutes we lost belief and started to force passes and lost our patience. Swansea started to string together a few attacks and we looked nervous almost. 'Oh no not this again' they get the winner but the defending in the build up to that showed a real nervousness. Harrison ran the ball out of play with a heavy touch for the corner, mistakes happen but it seemed more to be down to nerves more than anything.
Against Derby we missed the penalty and chance after chance and then just dropped deeper and deeper after the penalty miss, gave some freekicks away around our box through rash challenges and then concede a cheap goal. Against Charlton, we were well on top and concede the goal, Charlton sat back and we didn't have a clue how to break down. Similar to an extent with Millwall, we didn't stick to our philosophy, players were trying to rush things and we just resorted to aimless balls into the box.
In general we've got to manage situations better, in those 3 home games we finished the games badly. Not because the opposition improved but because we started to panic as we weren't comfortable. Last season our mentality up until the last three weeks was incredibly strong we won every game we lead in up until that Wigan game last season which is incredible and we recovered 24 points from losing positions.
Last season we were comfortable 'only' being 1-0 up we stuck to our principles and didn't allow the opposition to build any momentum late on. Since Wigan we've led in 12 games and have only converted 7 of them into wins. We only truly seem comfortable when we get the second goal, there seems to be a nervousness amongst the team when we don't and we have that fear the longer the game stays at 1-0.
We need to find a way to break down the teams that sit back against us too we've been behind in 7 games since Wigan and have lost every game.
We shouldn’t change the way we play, far from it, we just need to bring on players who seem to enjoy the pressure such as Roberts and Nketiah. It needs a mixture of everything and luck plays a factor too, and we've had absolutely none since Roofe's handball vs Forest.
Just keeping the belief in our system alone won't get us promoted as we aren't better/considerably better quality wise than the rest of the league. Whilst Bielsa could maybe rotate a little bit more when we have three games in a week and maybe give more minutes to other players there's little more he can do. He's built a side that's creating a lot of chances, improved virtually every player he's ever worked with at Leeds (in some cases dramatically) and we deserve to win most weeks.
It's down to the players to do their own individual jobs and to take responsibility, Bielsa can't have all the answers when a player has a split second decision, shoot or cross, pass or travel with the ball. The players have to take the decisions themselves and have to keep the faith in their own abilities. When things go against us the senior players need to step up and take responsibility. They did for 95% of last season but they don't really do so much now hence our recent poor conversion rate of leads in games into wins and getting back into games we fall behind in.
Content by Oscar, you can catch more from Oscar on All Leeds TV.